After watching Alton Brown make a coconut cake truly from scratch, my parents and I set out to make it our family project. Trust me, you need a few hands. What mad inspiration took hold of us that spring evening that made us desire to recreate what we saw on TV? I am still not sure. Was it Alton’s savvy camera angles, or his handy tricks or his nostalgia for the perfect home made coconut cake symbolizing 1950’s Americana. Whatever captivated us; we were determined to become as passionate about this cake as he.
This week, we attempted to make this three page long recipe using all resources we had available: drill, mallet, cusinart, kitchen aid mixer, glass jars, spoons, knifes, scales and more kitchen appliances, plus six hands, three brains, and some tricky maneuvering. We first began purchasing two organic coconuts with no crying eyes. (If you look at the indentation marks on the bottom of the coconut, it should look like a face, but not a sad face, because that means the coconut is old, and we wouldn’t want an old coconut, at least this is what Alton Brown tells us.) We bring them home and begin.
First we drill holes, extract the coconut juice, then bake for 15 minutes until the outer exterior cracks and you can break it off. Although, this may sound easy, the outer exterior is one stubborn shell. Prying, tearing, hammering and fighting made us feel like Keith Richards after his coconut incident, a little woozy (but I guess he always feels that way.) After Family vs. The Coconut (a formidable competitor) we peeled the thin brown skin and grated the coconut chunks. We then made the extract which involved a very under priced bottle of vodka and some freshly grated coconut and a week’s time. Every night, I shook my bottle, waiting for extract to form. (Don’t sit there, the extract won’t mind.)
We then made fresh coconut cream and milk, with boiled two percent milk poured over two different quantities of grated coconut. This is then strained and saved until the baking process.
Which brings me to my next point, the baking. Measuring and following instructions is key. And my mom and I spared no expense. I mean common, we spent over week prepping, so we had to nail this. I am giving you the links to Alton’s Brown’s recipe so you can attempt all the adventures at home. After beating, mixing, accurately measuring (as if in some life or death science experiment) the golden fluffy cakes came out of the oven. We made the frosting and assembled the cake.
Each layer is sprayed with a light misting of coconut juice. All the elements of the coconut are used in the making of this cake, which makes you feel pretty good for all your hard work. This monster of a cake is smeared with a sticky sweet frosting and lots of grated coconut. The subtle, creamy coconut came through like never before. With the appearance of some giant snowball, it was light yet surprisingly had a richness due to the coconut milk and cream. After the first bite of this cloud like mass, it was well worth the effort.